Australian Left Review

Article Title

U.S. Cities in Crisis


Janna Thompson


In the summer and autumn of 1975, the government of New York City struggled with a serious fiscal crisis which led it to the verge of declaring bankruptcy. Like many third world countries, New York City in the ’60s and 70s had been spiralling deeper and deeper into a hopeless morass of debt: borrowing money to pay o ff interest on money previously borrowed, using money earmarked for capital investment on day to day running expenses, issuing bonds on assets which turned out not to exist, juggling funds and deficits from one department to another. Finally, the banks which underwrite New York's debt asked for an accounting, and gradually the awful truth emerged. New York owed over 10 billion dollars.